Essential Mac Apps

Created:
Updated:
seedling🌱

General Apps

Fantastical

Fantastical integrates with any calendar pretty easily and the way you can customize meeting notifications has saved me more than once.

Alfred

I am by no means an Alfred power user, but as far as a spotlight replacement goes it's a bit better in my opinion. My main gripe is that spotlight is bad at guessing what I want and often autocompletes files I don't want to open. Alfred is more streamlined and I haven't experienced those issues using i

Rectangle

If you use an external monitor and don't use a window manager, you're wasting a lot of time manually resizing windows. Rectangle is a free, open source window manager that works on the newest generation of Mac OS. It's something you don't know you've needed until you start using it, highly recommended.

Obsidian

I've used various note taking app to varying degrees of success. The one that seems the most useful (and is how I wrote notes for hipstersmoothie.com) is Obsidian. All your notes are written in markdown stored wherever you want (in my case GitHub), the UI is pretty and very extensible, and how your notes connect together is great for learning and exploration.

Developer Apps

iterm2

The default terminal app on macs is okay but I like to customize my terminal a lot. iterm2 has a lot of nice little settings that can go a long way and making your terminal feel like ~ (home).

CleanShot X

As a web developer I'm constantly sending screenshots of what I'm working on to people. One of my most used shortcuts is CMD+SHIFT+4 and it's great! ... for the most part. CleanShot X fixes many of the bad UX decisions the native screen shot tool has.

  • Screenshots previews stay pinned to the viewport until you take action with them
  • When recording screen highlight clicks, shows keystrokes, and mutes notifications
  • Freeze screen while taking a screenshot
  • Annotate screenshots

PixalSnap 2

As a front end developer I also need to measure things on my screen. There are many browser extensions that do this but a lot of the time I need to measure something not in a browser. PixalSnap uses the mac's accessibility APIs to make everything on your screen measurable, even things running in an iOS simulator!

ColorSlurp

Another tool Macs come installed with is the Digital Color Meter. This tool will tell you the RGB value of any pixel on your screen! ... but it doesn't tell you the hex value. ColorSlurp gets that right and shows you the hex value, and best of all it's free!

VSCode

I've been a user for years and have no complaints. My pro tips here goes for any editor:

  • Learn to use the keybard to navigate you code
  • Use duplicate cursors whenever you can

Gitup

While I do love my Git Aliases there is still room for a visual client in my workflow. Gitup is where I learned to visualize my git repo as a tree and navigate it with eas. I'm a big believer in starting git with a visual client like this, it helps so much to be able to see what you actually doing. I tend to use my Git Aliases for my daily git interactions (add, commit, push) and do everything else in Gitup.

This birds eye view lends a few git operations to feel nicer:

  • Cherry picking is super easy
  • Easily re-order your commits
  • Easily delete a commit
  • Easily split a commit
  • Nice rebasing UI